Overview

Misha Isaak has been trusted to litigate Oregon’s most significant cases. He has successfully defended the state’s congressional redistricting plan in court, obtained an injunction striking down Oregon’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and represented Governor Kate Brown in brokering favorable settlements of the state government’s most important cases during her tenure. He represents clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as in private arbitrations. Misha handles high-profile, complex litigation involving government and political law, class actions, securities, corporate governance, antitrust, and business torts. He also advises clients and conducts investigations involving employment, professional standards, tribal affairs, and state government.

As chief counsel in the Governor’s Office, Misha managed the appointment of a historic number of state judges, creating the most diverse bench in Oregon history. He represented the governor in negotiating favorable settlements of major state litigation, including the hoteling of foster youth, services for the intellectually disabled, treatment of transgender inmates, sale of the Elliott State Forest, tribal hunting and fishing rights, and property taxation of Comcast. He also managed the clemency program, facilitating pardons and commutations for reformed offenders and maintaining a moratorium on the death penalty.

Misha also litigates civil rights and constitutional cases involving free speech, equal protection, and privacy for business, nonprofit, and individual clients. In 2014, he led a successful challenge to Oregon’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage, and then successfully opposed efforts to stop the marriages of same-sex couples at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. He has been recognized by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the top 40 Under 40 LGBT lawyers in the United States, and by Basic Rights Oregon as one of the five most influential LGBT Oregonians.

Misha clerked for Judge Ronald M. Gould, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Renée M. Bumb, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Misha served as General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel in the Office of Governor Kate Brown, Salem, OR.

Prior to law school, he worked for U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley (Special Assistant); and Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers (Reelect Attorney General Hardy Myers, Campaign Manager).

Education

University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 2008, cum laude; Comment Editor, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law

Reed College, B.A., 2004, Political Science, Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

Oregon

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States District Court for the District of Oregon

United States District Court for the District of Colorado

Experience

Litigation

  • Brenner v. University of Oregon
    Oregon Circuit Court, Lane County
    Represented University of Oregon and two former football coaches in a highly publicized trial over student-athlete’s injury caused by intensive workouts. Won a partial directed verdict at the end of a four-week trial. Minutes before closing arguments, plaintiff accepted a settlement of less than 2% of what he had asked the jury to award.
  • MacDonald v. Burkholder
    Oregon Circuit Court, Lane County
    Complete victory after month-long trial on behalf of client in litigation with former business partner over ownership of assets and shareholder oppression claims.
  • Traeger Pellet Grills LLC v. Traeger Grills East LLC
    Oregon Circuit Court, Multnomah County
    Represented Oregon-based consumer product manufacturer; prevailed at trial in dispute over damages caused by termination of distributor agreement.
  • McKenzie v. Ruby Receptionists, Inc.
    U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
    Defended Oregon-based business-services company in class action; obtained favorable “voucher settlement” on eve of trial.
  • Coast Equities, LLC v. Right Buy Properties, LLC
    U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
    Obtained complete dismissal of claims against property-owner client for lack of personal jurisdiction; dismissal affirmed on appeal.

Political Law and Civil Rights Litigation

  • Syrett v. Maxwell
    Oregon Circuit Court, Lane County
    Obtained voluntary dismissal of claims against client recall petitioners, recovered all attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Clarno v. Fagan
    Oregon Circuit Court, Marion County
    Successfully defended congressional redistricting plan adopted by the Oregon Legislature.
  • Geiger & Rummell v. Kitzhaber
    U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
    Successfully challenged Oregon’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples; obtained permanent injunction to halt enforcement of the law; successfully opposed efforts to stay the judgment at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court, making Oregon the first state in which same-sex couples could marry pursuant to a federal court injunction.

Appellate Law

  • Icon Groupe, LLC v. Washington County
    Oregon Court of Appeals
    Prevailed in appeal on behalf of billboard company in dispute over its right to erect billboards in Washington County, Oregon.
  • Gozzi v. Western Culinary Institute, Ltd.
    Oregon Court of Appeals
    Prevailed in appeal from denial of motion to compel arbitration in consumer class action.
  • Oregon ex rel. Northwest Public Communications Council v. Qwest Corp.
    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Obtained dismissal of complaint at district court on behalf of major utility; prevailed on appeal in affirming dismissal of complaint.

Investigations and Professional Standards

  • Oregon State Bar Investigation
    Obtained dismissal of Oregon State Bar investigation of attorney-client who was the subject of a bar complaint and investigation arising from the allegation that confidential information had been disclosed to an adverse party.
  • Oregon Department of Justice Investigation
    Successfully defended client under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice for alleged price-gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (Department of Consumer and Business Services) Investigation
    Successfully defended client under investigation by the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation for allegedly providing misleading insurance information.

Recognition

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Commercial Litigation), 2024
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Oregon) by Chambers USA (Litigation: General Commercial), 2023–present
  • Named Portland Business Journal’s Pride 2022 Basic Rights Champion
  • Honored as one of the five most influential LGBT Oregonians by Basic Rights Oregon for its 25th Anniversary, 2021
  • Included in Portland Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40,” 2021
  • Listed as an “Oregon Rising Star” in Oregon Super Lawyers®, 2014, 2022
  • Listed as an “Oregon Rising Star” in Oregon Law & Politics, 2014, 2015
  • Ranked by National LGBT Bar Association: Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40, 2014
  • Recipient of Fighting Spirit Award, Basic Rights Oregon, 2014
  • Recognized as a Knowledge Universe Rising Star, Portland Monthly Magazine, 2014

Affiliations

Professional

  • Lewis and Clark Law School, Former Adjunct Professor
  • Oregon Board of Bar Examiners, Former Member

Civic

  • Classroom Law Project Board of Directors, Member
  • Legal Aid of Oregon Strategic Planning Committee, Former Member
  • Sixth Amendment Center Task Force, Public Defense Services Commission, Former Member
  • Oregon Law Commission Standing Modernization Work Group, Former Member
  • Basic Rights Oregon, Lawyers Committee, Former Member
  • Oregon Area Jewish Committee Board of Directors, Former Member
  • Lincoln High School Constitution Team, Coach—Four National Championships, Former Coach

Industries

Jump to Page